June has arrived, and peak travel season would usually be around the corner. But 2021, like 2020, is a little different.
As global restrictions are a rat’s nest of constantly changing rules, CNN Travel is here to help you make plans for this summer and beyond through these weekly round-ups of travel news.
Come here to learn about the attractions opening their doors, the destinations relaxing entry rules, and the places where Covid spikes have forced authorities to pull down shutters.
Hoping to travel to one of the 27 countries in the European Union or to non-EU European destinations? Well, it’s a little complicated.
The EU has a white list of countries from which nonessential travel into the bloc is approved: These are Israel, New Zealand, Rwanda, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand and Australia.
But while the bloc is trying to create more universal requirements for tourism, each country retains sovereign powers over its borders, so conditions of entry differ from country to country, as does timing.
The EU Commission has introduced a digital Covid-19 certificate for travel (open to non-EU citizens) which is already being used on a voluntary basis by Bulgaria, Czechia, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Croatia and Poland. The system will be fully enforced from July 1.
All foreign tourists can now visit Greece without the need for quarantine on arrival, provided they have a negative PCR test. The government plans to declare 80 islands – including most of the country’s top tourism destinations – Covid-safe by the end of June.
France has just introduced a new color-coded “traffic light system” for when it opens to international travelers on June 9.
Those on the “green list” – vaccinated travelers from the European Union, Australia, South Korea, Israel, Japan, Lebanon, New Zealand and Singapore – can enter restriction-free. Nonvaccinated travelers will need to do a Covid test.
Vaccinated travelers from the “orange list” – which includes the US and the UK – will need to do a test, while the unvaccinated will be allowed in only for essential purposes.
Indoor dining will be reintroduced on June 9, too, and the national curfew moved to 11 p.m. If you want to visit the Eiffel Tower, though, you’ll have to wait for its reopening on July 16.
Le Grand Controle: First hotel opens in Chateau de Versailles
Ireland, which has had one of Europe’s strictest lockdowns, will reopen to the EU, UK and US on July 19. Non-EU unvaccinated travelers will have to arrive with a negative test, then self-quarantine until they take a second post-arrival test.
Irish hotels reopened this week, and indoor hospitality will resume on July 5.
Slovenia has also reopened to tourism with its own traffic light system and testing requirements, which you can read about here.
Spain will open to vaccinated travelers from outside the EU on June 7, and France is expected to do the same on June 9. The Netherlands is welcoming tourists from “safe countries with a low Covid-19 risk,” while Iceland, a member state of the European Economic Area, opened its borders to vaccinated travelers back in April.
Croatia is also welcoming vaccinated travelers, as well as those who present a negative PCR test or proof that they’ve recovered from Covid-19 within the past 180 days, and no less than 11 days before they arrive.
Last month, Cyprus reopened to vaccinated travelers from 65 countries, including the US and the UK.
The UK – famously now outside of the EU – also updated its travel “green list” this week. No new countries were added, but tourist favorite Portugal was moved from green to amber, which means traveling there from the UK is against government guidance and will involve 10 days of self-isolation upon return.
News from the Caribbean this week is that St. Lucia has eased on-island protocols for vaccinated travelers – including being able to book rental cars and dine at more local restaurants – but St. Kitts has battened down the hatches, announcing that it will only allow the fully vaccinated from now on.
Over in the Middle East and Africa, Algeria has started to reopen air travel, after locking down for 14 months, while Abu Dhabi will end mandatory quarantine for international travelers on July 1. That’s the same day Phuket will be reopening over in Thailand.
Attractions, activities and accommodation
Yet another grand dame New York hotel has reopened its doors. The Ritz-Carlton New York Central Park – it puts the Ritz in ritzy – opened June 2.
The Peninsula Hotels chain is open for business in the US, with guests now being welcomed at its super-glam New York property as well as the luxury digs at The Peninsula Chicago and The Peninsula Beverly Hills.
Over in the The Happiest Place on Earth, there is plenty of Disney news.
Disneyland’s Avengers Campus, a new land at Disney California Adventure Park, opened Friday, but CNN Travel has already had a sneak preview.
Disneyland and California Adventure parks will start to welcome out-of-state guests on June 15. A few days later, Disney’s first hotel with Marvel Characters – Disney’s Hotel New York - The Art of Marvel – will open June 21.
On Thursday, Venice welcomed the MSC Orchestra, the first cruise ship to arrive in its waters since the pandemic began. Europe’s Uniworld Boutique River Cruises will resume operations on June 20 with a range of itineraries in Italy, Portugal and France.
Celebrity Edge is poised to be the first major cruise ship to sail from the United States in over a year as Covid-19 restrictions continue to ease in the country.
Covid escape plan of the week
A photo tour of French Polynesian island Nuku Hiva
One of the most spectacular way to escape the crowds? A trip to the French Polynesian island of Nuku Hiva, one of the world’s most remote locations.
Part of the untouched Marquesas Islands archipelago, it’s recently reopened to travelers – but you will have to do an eight-and-a-half-hour flight from San Francisco, followed by another four-hour flight, to get there.
Be sure to pack plenty of snacks.
CNN’s Marnie Hunter, Jane Levere, Elinda Labropoulou, Stephanie Takyi and Barbara Wojazer contributed to this report.